Report: John Paul II may be beatified this year

John Allen has the scoop:

According to a report by veteran Italian Vatican writer Andrea Tornielli, a miracle attributed to the late Pope John Paul II has been approved by both the medical and theological consulters of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

In effect, that clears the path for the beatification of John Paul II sometime in 2011. Tornielli suggests that the most likely dates would April 2, the anniversary of the pope’s death; May 18, his birthday; or October 16, the anniversary of his election to the papacy in 1978.

Although Benedict XVI typically does not celebrate beatification ceremonies himself, preferring that they be led by the local bishop and staged in the saint’s local diocese, in this case the beatification would be held in St. Peter’s Square in Rome and is expected to draw a vast crowd.

Before a date is set, the full body of cardinals and bishops who make up the Congregation for the Causes of Saints must approve the miracle and then submit their recommendation to Pope Benedict XVI.

The miracle in question involves the healing of a French nun diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. There had been reports that the sister had become ill again, and that one physician questioned her initial diagnosis, but Allen points out that those questions must have been resolved if the Congregation is moving forward with the beatification.

Allen also speculates than an October 16 date seems most likely for the potential beatification, as it would allow the most time to plan for what would no doubt be a huge event.

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Margaret Cabaniss is the former managing editor of Crisis Magazine. She joined Crisis in 2002 after graduating from the University of the South with a degree in English Literature and currently lives in Baltimore, Maryland. She now blogs at SlowMama.com.

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